Serge Chaloff

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Serge Chaloff
Serge Chaloff, Georgie Auld, Red Rodney, Tiny Kahn (Gottlieb).jpg
Serge Chaloff (lower left) with Georgie Auld, Red Rodney, and Tiny Kahn, c. August 1947.
Photo: William P. Gottlieb.
Background information
Born (1923-11-24)November 24, 1923
Origin Boston, Massachusetts, US
Died July 16, 1957(1957-07-16) (aged 33)
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Baritone saxophone
Years active 1940s–1950s
Associated acts Woody Herman

Serge Chaloff (November 24, 1923 – July 16, 1957) was an American jazz baritone saxophonist.

The son of Boston piano teachers Margaret and Julius Chaloff, he was among the few major jazz performers on his instrument. Until Chaloff the only prominent baritone player in jazz was Harry Carney of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Originally influenced by Carney and Jack Washington of the Count Basie Orchestra, he was later greatly inspired by the bebop playing of Charlie Parker. Chaloff became the first major bebop baritonist and opened the way for others to follow.[1]

The first bebop band Chaloff played with was Boyd Raeburn's short-lived big band. In 1947-1949 he first became well known as one of the "Four Brothers" reed section in Woody Herman's Second Herd.[2] He also played with Georgie Auld, Jimmy Dorsey, and Count Basie, as well as recording as a leader.

Serge Chaloff's career was greatly limited by addiction to heroin. After successfully giving up drugs, he developed cancer of the spine which caused his early death.



  1. ^ Berendt, Joachim E The Jazz Book.
  2. ^ Wynn, Ron (1994), Ron Wynn, ed., All Music Guide to Jazz, M. Erlewine, V. Bogdanov, San Francisco: Miller Freeman, p. 143, ISBN 0-87930-308-5 

Further reading[edit]

For a list of Chaloff's recordings, vid. Vladimir Simosko, Serge Chaloff, an Appreciation and Discography, 3rd ed., rev., Montréal Vintage Music Society, 1991, ISBN 1-895002-06-0.